The Flood Inundation Mapping and Alert Network (FIMAN) provides rain and river gauge data, flood inundation maps, flooding impacts and alerts in real-time to support risk-based decisions regarding flooding. While state government at many levels may use the information that FIMAN provides, individual residents may find this information useful as well. FIMAN gathers and distributes reliable data about flooding risks and impacts to help prevent and reduce the loss of lives and property.
The FIMAN website, https://fiman.nc.gov/, provides real-time data on stream elevation, rainfall and weather parameters from over 550 gauges across North Carolina. Some sites may be rain or stage gauges only, while others also provide weather data. Many of these gauges are managed by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety’s Division of Emergency Management (NCEM), while others are operated by local government agencies and private organizations. Gauges from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are also included in this network.
The gauges are a combination of stream gauges, weather sensors, and VHF repeaters. The stream gauge water level sensors are of various types including RADAR, ultrasonic and pressure transducers, which are both submersible and non-submersible. The network includes gauges owned by NCEM, USGS, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as well as local, county and township gauges. The most common type of telemetry found in the network is cellular but there are Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) satellite, and VHF transmissions as well.
Data from many NCEM gauges in Western North Carolina are transmitted by radios and a network of mountain top repeaters to various receiving sites in Western North Carolina. The data is then transmitted by the internet to a central database for display on the FIMAN website. Data from NCEM gauges in Eastern North Carolina are transmitted by the NOAA GOES. Data is also provided to the National Weather Service to aid in their rain and flood forecasts.
The FIMAN website contains flood inundation maps and estimated building damages at select sites across the state. Flooding risk information is provided for areas with inundation maps in the vicinity of the stream gauge. For each incremental rise in flood waters, buildings, and critical infrastructure that would be impacted are identified. Information on water depth in each building affected and estimated damage costs, are also displayed.
You can click here to search gauges and see specific gauges near you or anywhere else in North Carolina. You can also easily subscribe to receive alerts in your area by completing a simple on-line form.
The state also operates the North Carolina flood information portal, which allows you to learn about your flood risk, the Nation Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), flood mitigation opportunities and the location of flood warning sites near you. You can go here to learn about flood risk at a specific address, including flood hazard, structural and content impacts, mitigation opportunities, floodplain management and the location of nearby flood warning sites.
Below are pictures of several NCEM gauges:
This article with the permission and assistance of the NC Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management